Record Flooding in the Amazon

We continue to receive reports from Iquitos regarding the impact the record flooding is having on communities both in the city and in the jungle. The statistics are staggering. The Amazon river is expected to reach 119.20 (357 feet) meters above sea level. According to the director of the Peruvian National Meteorology Service in Iquitos, this will be the first time in history that the river has reached that level. While the rate of the river’s rise has slowed and is expected to crest soon, the water is not forecasted to begin to recede until the middle of May, and then only at a slow pace. It will be a matter of one to two months before dry ground will be seen in many places.

It is reported that there are more than 184,000 victims of the flood and 74,000 other people affected by the increasing waters. In addition, thousands of homes have been destroyed, hundreds of schools are underwater and many health clinics have been flooded. All of that translates to literally tens of thousands of families who have been relocated to temporary shelters that have been set up in Iquitos. The safety of the city has little to offer as the flood waters continue to rise. As the water has flooded streets around the city, the entire water and sewer system is collapsing and the city is no longer able to provide potable water to many residents. Electricity has had to be turned off to many homes because of the increased dangers of electrocution due to the rising water. The problems are compounded by so many people without basic necessities living in such small places. The potential for epidemics to break out increase exponentially with the crowded poor living conditions and the proliferation of the mosquito population.

In the jungle, life presents a different set of difficulties. Hundreds of families have left their homes and entire communities appear deserted. For many families, leaving is not yet an option. Some simply do not have the means to leave. Others fear the loss of their meager personal possessions by roaming bands of thieves taking advantage of abandoned houses. At Cabo Pantoja, where we hold classes for Instituto Bautista de Tejas en la Amazonía, Pastor Vilfredo and his family are still living in their home with about a meter and half (5 feet) of water covering the floor. They have stacked the wooden benches to support boards to form a second floor in their home. Their youngest daughter, who is not able to swim, has fallen into the water twice inside their house. The church building has water in it all the way into the windows. At the lodge where we live during our short term trips, the dinning hall and common areas were the first to flood earlier this month. Now, the water has more than covered the floors in all of the rooms. The only food that they can easily find is fish. All of their crops are lost and fruit is not available. While the government has shipped in tons of food and relief supplies to the area, it rarely reaches the smaller communities further in the jungle. As a result, their only option is to purchase food. Aside from the fact that their budgets do not normally support large food purchases, people are not able to work since, as one man told us, “water covers everything, there is no land.”

Things are very difficult for everyone in this part of Peru right now and the end of the ordeal is several weeks away. Even then, they will not quickly recover from the damage that has been left behind. Please pray for the people, for God’s protection and provision during the days, weeks and months ahead. Let us never forget that these are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us pray for them.

Home Underwater

Home Under Water

Lodge underwater
Amazon Lodge Under Water
About Author: admin

Comments are closed.